AOL - AOL - need to update billing information, but can't without credit card that was stolen - rediculous

Posted on Thursday, July 11th, 2002 at 12:00am CDT by 5e1442cb

Company: AOL

Category: Internet Services

After receiving an email from AOL re. the status of my account and calling the Customer Service number, I had a most unsatisfactory conversation with John Andrews of that group. AOL hasn't been able to receive payment from the credit card on file for the last 2 months.

That card was stolen along with my wallet back in 5/02. When I called Mr. Andrews, an AOL Customer Service Manager, on 7/8 I was told the only way I could change credit cards was either via the computer on which the account was set up, which hasn't been able to connect to the Internet in 3 years (I've been connecting to my account from my office), or by telling them the last 4 digits of the the credit card the AOL account was billed to, which was stolen as mentioned earlier.

Also, as the account number changed upon the credit card's expiration date, I was never asked to update the new number, it was automatically updated. At no time was I ever told by anyone at AOL that this information would be required to change a credit card over the phone.

As I don't have access to that stolen credit card number, I was unable to provide Mr. Andrews this information. When I asked to escalate to his boss, he told me he was as far as I was going to get and referred me to you (which I assume is an entire low level department with insufficient authority to provide meaningful support).

I instructed Mr. Andrews to close the account and that I would send an email to you at his suggestion. At no time did Mr. Andrews or anyone at AOL make any attempt to keep my business. There was no suggestion of closing that account and opening another one with the new card.

It also seems unreasonable to ask consumers to keep track of a number they provided many years ago as a security precaution. Especially in light of the fact that there are several other security questions/answers that can be provided that are more meaningful to the customer. Because, as a captive customer of Time Warner Cable in Manhattan, I have no confidence of any type of effective response to this complaint, please note that it has been sent to the Better Business Bureau of New York as well at the Federal Trade Commission, via both of their websites.

I understand there is little the BBB or the FTC can do in this matter except add this complaint to the case that mega mergers do little to improve customer service and much to degrade the already mediocre customer service of the individual companies in their pre-merger state. If Mr. Andrews is typical of the quality of customer support staff of AOL, I have little confidence in an effective response and plan to take my email personal email business elsewhere.


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